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Sun Feb 17, 2013, 06:54 AM

Why Our Gun Debate Is Off Target

America's gun owners have every right to object to sweeping controls, but until they take responsibility for their own role in accidents and violence, they're setting themselves up for more regulation.

Believe it or not, what's missing from the current shout-fest over guns and gun control is the voice of gun owners.

Yes, the National Rifle Association has been screaming its head off since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, but the NRA doesn't speak for the country's 100 million gun owners. If it did, it wouldn't have just four million members. Some "gun guys" (as I like to call them) probably support the NRA without joining, but if only 4% are signing up, it's safe to say a large majority of them want nothing to do with the NRA's angry extremism.

As for those on the gun-control side, they often go beyond calling for policy changes, about which reasonable people can disagree, and issue broad-brush insults that aren't acceptable in other contexts. When sportscaster Bob Costas blames "gun culture" for the murder-suicide of an NFL linebacker, gun owners say, "Wait a minute. I'm gun culture. And my guns haven't hurt anybody."

A lot of assumptions are made about gun owners, by the NRA and gun-control proponents alike. What nobody ever seems to do, though, is listen to them.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324162304578304000178156938.html

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:48 AM

1. yes, yes, yes!!

The most avid advocates either offer no solutions or toss up abstract solutions like recovering the American family, or putting God back in schools, or not allowing those with mental health problems to own guns.

Great article!

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:59 AM

2. Bingo. Much as I hate to agree with the WSJ.

We don't care if you have a gun. We care if your gun ends up in the hands of a criminal who uses it against us. And while you may truly be responsible, many in the gun community refuse to face the fact that too many of their compatriots are undeniably not. The result is tens of thousands of deaths every year.

It is incumbent on the gun community themselves to take responsibility for this. THEY need to push the legislation that recognizes that not everyone should have access to a gun. THEY need to push legislation that recognizes that if you are going to own a gun, you own the consequences of that gun.

If you lose it, or give it to someone who is vicious or stupid or even accident prone, that is on you. Whether you are a parent of a troubled child, a gun dealer who is winking at regulations, a straw purchaser - or just a guy who likes to keep his gun in his glove compartment - the consequences of that gun are on you.

The responsibility does not belong with the rest of us. It is not incumbent on teachers or school systems to throw money at the problem and try to make your guns safe. It is not incumbent on the rest of us to assign our already stretched mental health system the task of preventing gun violence.

Prevention or reduction of gun violence is the responsibility of the gun community. And sorry, folks, this flag is not going to be taken up by the irresponsible gun owners. So it is on the heads of the gun owners who actually are responsible.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 08:12 AM

3. Interesting. I don't agree with everything he says but I do think he has a better

vantage point than me, having traveled the country doing interviews as he says. One observation from my window....

That is the idea of being a democrat or liberal or left leaning politically and being a gun owner. It wasn't always so for me. I was over 50 before I owned a firearm. In fact I would normally align with an anti gun position. But at some point I became disillusioned with gun control advocates and their frenetic push against gun ownership, which I ultimately came to feel was a push against the second amendment. As I became more involved and thought about it, much of the anti gun rhetoric made less and less sense. I became convinced that much of it was based in knee jerk fear and hysteria. Bottom line being that I slowly and deliberately came to supporting a reading of the second amendment that has been the law of (most of) the land for nearly 237 years.

Why Our Gun Debate Is Off Target


I'm a weirdo hybrid: a lifelong gun guy who is also a lifelong liberal Democrat. I often feel like the child of a bitter divorce who has allegiance to both parents.

...

Although I did my best to avoid gun politics, the subject came up constantly. What came through loudest of all was that gun guys feel insulted. The caustic and routine dismissal of "gun culture" is only part of it. Gun guys look at the most strident advocates of gun control and say, "You know nothing about what it means to handle guns, but you presume to make judgments about my ability to do so."

...

We gun guys are operating under a double standard. We want to be left alone to buy, use and carry guns because, we say, we understand firearms better than any bureaucrat. But at the same time, enough of us behave so carelessly that thousands of people are needlessly killed, injured or victimized every year by guns left lying around.

...

Gun guys are right to object to government officials who propose sweeping gun controls without understanding guns. But until they take responsibility for the gun violence that so frightens their fellow citizens, they're setting themselves up for more regulation. Taking collective responsibility for social problems is not the same thing as knuckling under to a tyrannical government. In fact, it's the opposite.


Why Our Gun Debate Is Off Target

I bold the final sentence because responsibility is really what gun ownership is about, however I do think this piece could have done well to leave out the crack about a "tyrannical government". It is ourselves, we the people, who elect representatives who enact legislation. I do not see that a tyranny in any sense of the word.

Responsibility for and of gun ownership. It goes far beyond handling and keeping firearms in a safe manner.

This is by far one of the most cogent blog discussions of left leaning firearm ownership I have read in quite some time.
The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights


What all liberal gun-control proposals seek to do, and all they seek to do, is to reduce and eventually eliminate the right of ordinary citizens to possess firearms. These proposals treat the armed power of the state with, at best, benign indifference. They ignore, or dismiss as of no importance, the way these policies will further weaken the power of the citizen relative to the state. There is a definite ideology underlying all this: That the state – the American capitalist state we live in – should have a monopoly of armed force; that this state is a benign, neutral arbiter which will use its armed force in support of and not against its citizens, to mediate conflicts fairly and promote just outcomes in ways that the citizens themselves cannot be trusted to do.

All the liberal gun-control proposals do, and I would suggest the anti-gun-rights position in general must, rest on this premise. For reasons set forth below, I think it’s wrong-headed, and I do not see how one can deny that it is elitist and authoritarian.

...

Somehow, a lot of people have come to imagine that depreciating versus valuing citizens’ gun rights is a left-right dichotomy Only in the ridiculous political discourse of the United States, where Barack Obama is a “marxist" (or any kind of “leftist” at all) can citizens' right to gun ownership be considered a purely right-wing demand. The notion that an armed populace should have a measure of power of resistance to the heavily armed power of the state is, if anything, a populist principle, and has always been part of the revolutionary democratic traditions of the left. The notion that disarming the people in a capitalist state – and one in severe socio-economic crisis, at that – would be some kind of victory for progressive, democratic forces, something that might help move us toward an emancipatory transformation of society, derives from no position on the political left. As one commentator puts it: “I can’t imagine why anyone would expect the state’s gun control policies to display any less of a class character than other areas of policy. Regardless of the ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ rhetoric used to defend gun control, you can safely bet it will come down harder on the cottagers than on the gentry, harder on the workers than on the Pinkertons, and harder on the Black Panthers than on murdering cops.

...

Those who understand gun ownership as a fundamental political right correctly perceive, and are right to resist, the intended threat of its incremental elimination in gun-control laws that will have little to no practical effect, other than to demand more acts of compliance and submission to the armed authority of the state. And those who do want to take that right away must be –and they are, aren’t they? – willing to use the armed force of the state to enforce the rescission of that right on the fifty million or so Americans who own guns and never have or will do anything murderous or illegal with them. That’ll institute a peaceful new society.

The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights

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Response to geckosfeet (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:35 AM

4. Which liberal-gun control proposal does this refer to:

"What all liberal gun-control proposals seek to do, and all they seek to do, is to reduce and eventually eliminate the right of ordinary citizens to possess firearms"

Exactly what legislative proposals, liberal or otherwise, do this? Which of the current gun control proposals seeks to reduce or eliminate the right of ordinary citizens to possess firearms?

The pro-gun folks like to paint the gun-control people as hysterics. It is clear to me that it is the pro-gun people who have taken a hysterical attitude. Frankly, they seem to be reveling in this martyred and beleaguered position of "just normal folks whose rights are under fire." So let's say it again: No one wants to take your gun. NO ONE WANTS TO TAKE YOUR GUN. No one wants to take your gun!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's what we want: to be able to have confidence that we won't be shot by the gun of someone who considers himself to be a responsible gun owner. This really isn't a lot to ask.

There are no gun control legislative proposals that seek to do anything even close to eliminating the right to own a gun. And yet, the refrain continues. You guys really have to get over your martyr complex.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:04 PM

7. Bans. Bans for specific firearms and magazines.

Bans on semi-automatic handguns and rifles and ten round magazines. NY legislation, proposed legislation in MA, CO legislation. IMO it's hysteria.


Here's what we want: to be able to have confidence that we won't be shot by the gun of someone who considers himself to be a responsible gun owner. This really isn't a lot to ask.


Gun owners want the same thing.



The Rifle on the Wall:A Left Argument for Gun Rights

I think we should have this discussion honestly. If the latter is your position, say it. If you want to eliminate the Second Amendment right, mount a forthright political campaign to do so. Do not pussy-foot around with “I am not against the Second Amendment. I do not want to take your hunting rifles and your shotguns, and your antique muskets,” when you really don’t like the Second Amendment at all, would love to see it repealed, and wouldn’t mind if everybody was forced to turn in every weapon that they owned.

‘Cause, guess what: You’re not fooling anybody. When your discourse reeks with intellectual and moral disdain for gun-rights and gun-rights advocates, when it never endorses, and indeed at best studiously avoids, the issue of gun ownership as a fundamental political right, it shows. And it certainly shows when you say outright that you’d love to confiscate all guns, no matter how you try to waffle on that later. Despite what’s implied in the ever-present disdain, gun rights advocates are not, ipso facto, stupid (or violent, or crazy), and certainly not too stupid to see where you’re heading. So let’s stop gaslighting gun-rights supporters as paranoid...



Please refer to the section "The Fundamental Political Principle" in The Rifle on the Wall:A Left Argument for Gun Rights for an explanation of the use of "If the latter is your position, say it".

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Response to geckosfeet (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:17 PM

8. So I say I don't want to take your guns, and your answer is pretty much "yes you do."

Your answer is that my position is not "forthright."

Your answer is that I am pussy footing around.

Your answer is "you're not fooling anybody."

Clearly you are not going to be dissuaded from the martyrdom, or the hysteria.

Have a nice day.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 05:12 PM

11. Pretty much. Unless you can prove otherwise.

I am afraid I just don't think "your word", however well intentioned, cuts the mustard.

on edit: Especially in the face of the various legislative proposals popping up all over the place. The one being proposed in MA would make me, by the passing of a law, an overnight felon unless I turn certain hardware (that own legally and within present legal requirements) over to the authorities.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 10:00 AM

5. Good read. One paragraph caught my attention ...


From Arizona to Michigan, I found America full of working people who won't listen to Democrats about anything because of the party's identification with gun control. A parks-and-recreation worker in Wisconsin told me he was offended by the Democrats' view "that guns are for the unwashed, the yokels." It's hard to think of a better organizing tool for the right than the left's tribal antipathy to guns.


I have enjoyed target shooting handguns for over 40 years and have talked to many gun owners who agree with me (and the Democratic Party) on many issues. Unfortunately they often refuse to vote for ANY Democrat as they feel our party wishes to disarm all honest citizens using the incremental approach. First ban evil looking black rifles, then ban semi-auto firearms followed by all handguns.

We do need to improve our current gun laws and better enforce them. Due to the tragic massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut we now have an excellent opportunity to make some vital improvements that will actually make some difference. We can enact a universal background check and eliminate our "gun show loophole." We can increase penalties for anyone caught illegally carrying a firearm or the straw purchase and smuggling of firearms. We can possibly find means to help control gang violence in cities such as Chicago and because of the financial problems in the Windy City that might require federal assistance. I feel most gun owners would back such efforts.

Unfortunately some in our party feel that best approach to control gun violence is to ban certain firearms and also greatly limit magazine capacity for semi-auto firearms. Is it surprising that this approach alienates most gun owners?

New York State recently enacted a limit of seven rounds in a magazine and gun owners will rightly point out that only honest gun owners will abide by this rule. They feel they may find themselves at a significant disadvantage if they are protecting their home from an intruder with a Glock pistol with only seven rounds in the magazine while their attacker has seventeen rounds in his Glock magazine. Such "feel good" laws will accomplish little or nothing of value.

In the past pushing for draconian gun laws has hurt our party and I feel we may face a backlash in the coming midterm elections and beyond. Much of the progress we have been able to achieve in the last four years may be hampered or lost if Republicans gain seats in both the House and Senate and win the next Presidential election. Many good Democrats may also lose office at the local and state levels.

Remember that there are an estimated 80,000,000 gun owners in our nation and when you add the voting age members of their families you end up with a significant voting block. By overreaching we may end up shooting ourselves in the foot. Gun owners often have a significant amount of money invested in their shooting hobby and will be very willing to show up at the polls to vote for "pro gun rights" candidates.

But still, I could be wrong. Time will tell.

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Response to spin (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 11:59 AM

6. Then isn't it incumbent on the Democratic gun proponents to loudly dispel the myth that anyone

wants to take your guns away? To show the rest of the country that responsible and effective gun control does not mean an end to the second amendment? To show that gun owners who understand the motives of the Democratic party are not afraid of gun control?

Because you are right. If all gun owners from all political persuasions bunker down together and insist that "no one's going to grab our guns" Republicans will win and nothing will stop the deaths that result as collateral damage to gun rights as they are currently defined.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:27 PM

9. I agree but news stories like this don't help the cause. ....

Minnesota Democrats pushing gun confiscation bill similar to Missouri's
GUN CONTROLFEBRUARY 15, 2013BY: JOE NEWBYSubscribe


Democrats in Minnesota are pushing a gun confiscation proposal that looks eerily similar to one recently proposed by Democrats in Missouri, Jim Hoft reported at the Gateway Pundit on Thursday.

The measure uses language that is almost identical to the Missouri proposal, including a requirement that law-abiding gun owners relinquish their so-called "assault" weapons before Sept.1, 2013.

According to the bill, anyone who, on February 1, 2013, legally owns or is in possession of an assault weapon has until September 1, 2013, to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution under Minnesota Statutes, section 624.7133:

remove the weapon from the state;
surrender the weapon to a law enforcement agency for destruction;
render the weapon permanently inoperable; or
if eligible, register the weapon as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 624.7133, subdivision 5.

http://www.examiner.com/article/minnesota-democrats-pushing-gun-confiscation-bill-similar-to-missouri-s


HB 545
Makes it a class C felony to manufacture, import, possess, purchase, sell, or transfer any assault weapon or large capacity magazine
Sponsor: Ellinger, Rory (086)
Co-Sponsor: Schupp, Jill (088) ... et al.
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2013
LR Number: 776L.01I
Last Action: 2/13/2013 - Read Second Time (H)
Bill String: HB 545
Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar
http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HB545&year=2013&code=R


Text of the Missouri Bill:



FIRST REGULAR SESSION

HOUSE BILL NO. 545

97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES ELLINGER (Sponsor), SCHUPP, MCNEIL AND WALTON GRAY (Co-sponsors).

0776L.01I D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk

***snip***

2. No person, corporation or other entity in the state of Missouri may manufacture, import, possess, purchase, sell, or transfer any assault weapon or large capacity magazine.

***snip***

4. Any person who, prior to the effective date of this law, was legally in possession of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine shall have ninety days from such effective date to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution:
(1) Remove the assault weapon or large capacity magazine from the state of Missouri;
(2) Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable; or
(3) Surrender the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to the appropriate law enforcement agency for destruction, subject to specific agency regulations.
5. Unlawful manufacture, import, possession, purchase, sale, or transfer of an assault weapon or a large capacity magazine is a class C felony.
http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills131/biltxt/intro/HB0545I.htm


Now admittedly the chances of such bills becoming law are similar to my getting hit by a meteorite in my lifetime. Still they are causing considerable concern on conservative sites.

Overreaching by some Democrats might lead to our shooting the hope of effective gun control measures in the foot.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 05:54 PM

12. "Take away your guns"

Well, that's a bit questionable.

Laws like the proposed Assault Weapons Ban 2: Bigger, Badder, and Forever stop the sales of certain categories of guns. So I won't be able to buy a new one. And with treating existing ones the same as machine guns and explosive ordinance, me buying a used one would be a major, expensive hassle, including a $200 transfer tax and a multi-month wait time.

And it's not that far fetched a belief that, one day in the near future, people that own grandfathered assault weapons will no longer be able to sell them to anybody except a licensed gun dealer. In other words, if I do have a gun, when I decided to get rid of it (or when I die), the only person that can buy it is the government. So not only can nobody buy a new one, they can't buy a used one either.

They are certainly interested in taking away some of the types of guns I can purchase.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 04:54 PM

10. DU Rec

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